Created: 13th August, 2015

Reading Journals - Teaching Approach


Reading Journals

Both class and individual reading journals provide a thinking space for children to explore and reflect on their reading experience through writing, drawing and raising their own questions.

A dialogue

A very effective use of a reading journal is to create a dialogue with the teacher, perhaps in letter format. Children are encouraged to comment on their reading at home and at school, speculate, explore and be tentative. The teacher’s role is to guide the child’s development, make links, pose questions, and offer their own opinions to encourage deeper reflection and stimulate further reading,

A private response

A section of a reading journal can be used for a child’s private thoughts, written for themselves alone, perhaps in response to issues of particular significance to them as an individual.

A structured response related to individual reading

Another approach is to give children a specific focus each time they use their journal to record their personal reading, or a list of generic ideas to draw on for their responses. Here are some examples:


- Draw and describe a character from the book you would like to meet and explain why you would like to meet them.

- Write a list of questions you would like to ask the main character.

- What advice would you give the main character? Write him/her a letter.

- Write a diary entry as if you are the main character.


- Where is the story happening, what can you see?

- Draw and describe the settings in different parts of the book.

- Draw a map of the story showing where the action takes place.


- What kind of a story is this? How do you know?

- What do you think will happen?

- Have you read any other stories like this?

- Who should read this book, why?

- When you have finished look back and choose your favourite passage explain why you like it.


- Finding and noting interesting or memorable words or phrases you think are effective explain why.

- Write down three words that are new to you and find out what they mean.

Information Books

Write down three new things you have learnt from an information book,

Reading journals linked to guided or shared reading

Reading journals can be linked to the texts children are encountering during guided reading or whole class work. Using journals in this way can support the children’s reading of a longer or more challenging text, help them plot their way through it and allow them to develop their ideas. Children can be asked to make notes about specific aspects of the story as they read, for example to put themselves into a particular character’s situation and consider what they are thinking or feeling. They could also be asked to consider the writer’s use of language and how he or she creates a particular effect or image.

Class journals

In the Power of Reading Project many teachers keep a class journal – either to discuss books read by children in general or to record children's thoughts and writing as they progress through the book.

Mini Journals

The mini journals created for the CLPE Book Power publication (Krindlekrax, The Lady of Shalott and There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom) and for other texts in the Reading Power project are designed to help readers articulate their responses to specific texts. They should be used flexibly and teachers may want to adapt the activities or add their own ideas.

Reading journals can be kept in a simple notebooks or you can design sheets for particular purposes.


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